Zelensky says Ukraine is in talks with Turkey, UN on grain exports

Russia denies it is blocking any movement of grain and says Ukraine is to blame for the lack of movement, partly because of what it says are mining operations in its ports.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose for a picture before a meeting, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 4, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose for a picture before a meeting, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 4, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Ukraine is holding talks with Turkey and the United Nations to secure guarantees for grain exports from Ukrainian ports, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday.

"Talks are in fact going on now with Turkey and the UN (and) our representatives who are responsible for the security of the grain that leaves our ports," Zelensky told a news conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

"This is a very important thing that someone guarantees the security of ships for this or that country - apart from Russia, which we do not trust. We therefore need security for those ships which will come here to load foodstuffs."

Zelensky said Ukraine was working "directly" with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the issue and that the organization was "playing a leading role, not as a moderator."

News reports have suggested in recent weeks that such talks would soon be taking place in Turkey.

 Seeds are seen in a grain silos destroyed after it was shelled repeatedly, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine May 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/SERHII NUZHNENKO) Seeds are seen in a grain silos destroyed after it was shelled repeatedly, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine May 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/SERHII NUZHNENKO)

Russian involvement in grain exports

Ukraine, one of the world's leading grain exporters, accuses Russia of blocking the movement of its ships, and Zelensky said 22 million tons of grain was stuck at the moment with a further harvest of about 60 million tons expected in the autumn.

Russia denies it is blocking any movement of grain and says Ukraine is to blame for the lack of movement, partly because of what it says are mining operations in its ports.

"This is a very important thing that someone guarantees the security of ships for this or that country - apart from Russia, which we do not trust. We therefore need security for those ships which will come here to load foodstuffs."

President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine has also accused Russia of stealing grain from its warehouses and taking it out of the country - either to Russian-occupied areas, Russia itself or other countries.

A Turkish official on Monday said Turkey had halted a Russian-flagged cargo ship off its Black Sea coast and was investigating a Ukrainian claim that it was carrying stolen grain.